Tumoroids: A Versatile Tool In Disease Modeling

The development of the organoid model was the result of decades of study in developmental biology, and organ physiology coupled with technological advancements in growing tissues ex vivo. With more and more focus being shifted to 3D cell culture from the conventional 2D cultures, there is now a wide selection of techniques for growing tissues in 3D for disease modeling (1).

Tumoroids in patient derived disease modeling

Organoids are self-organized 3D structures derived from adult or embryonic stem cells that are able to represent the structure and function of the derived tissue. To this end, these organoids mirror specific characteristics such as distribution of different cell types, overall architecture, and tissue-cell specific functions. These cultures are maintained long term by supplementing the culture media with defined mixture of tissue specific growth factors (2-4). In this manner organoid cultures have been developed for different types of healthy human tissues for basic physiological research as well as patient derived tumor specimens yielding the tumoroid model, for cancer research (5).

Tumoroids are consisted with the patient’s genetic and phenotypic features of the tumor epithelium (5-6). As these are cultures from human origin, tumoroids also bypass the limitations posed by animal models such as interspecies differences. Organoids are also a versatile tool in clinical research as they can be propagated in-vitro and cryopreserved, thus enabling the creation of organoid bank of different cancer subtypes that can be used in preclinical studies. As of date such long-term organoid cultures have been developed for many different types of tissues such as liver, breast, lung, pancreas, endometrium, stomach, prostrate, ovary, bladder, kidney, brain and bone (1).


1. Zanoni, M., Cortesi, M., Zamagni, A. et al. Modeling neoplastic disease with spheroids and organoids. J Hematol Oncol 13, 97 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13045-020-00931-0

2. Clevers H. Modeling development and disease with organoids. Cell. 2016; 165:1586–97.

3. Park SE, Georgescu A, Huh D. Organoids-on-a-chip. Science. 2019;364:960–5.

4. Tuveson D, Clevers H. Cancer modeling meets human organoid technology. Science. 2019;364:952–5.

5. Kretzschmar K. Clevers H. Organoids: modeling development and the stem cell niche in a dish. Dev. Cell. Cell Press. 2016:590–600.

6. Bleijs M, Wetering M, Clevers H, Drost J. Xenograft and organoid model systems in cancer research. EMBO J. 2019;38:e101654.